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Katherine Legge qualifies for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500

Katherine Legge has qualified for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 - and will thus take part in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing for the fourth time in her career, driving the #51 e.l.f. Cosmetics sponsored Dayle Coyne Racing Dallara from 31st on the grid.


Katherine Legge, elf Beauty, Dale Coyne Racing, 2024 Indianapolis 500
Photo credits: Penske Entertainment / Paul Hurley

Katherine Legge has qualified for the 108th Running of the Indianapolis 500 - and will thus take part in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing for the fourth time in her career.

Legge survived the Last Chance Qualifying on Sunday after a tense Time Trials on Saturday, which saw the British racer missing out on a top-30 spot on the grid. She then led the four driver shootout of "Bump Day", securing a slot in the field for the big event on May 26th, where she will drive the #51 e.l.f. Cosmetics sponsored Dayle Coyne Racing Dallara from 31st on the grid.


Legge first entered the Indy500 in 2012, finishing 22nd, then returned in 2013 in a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry. Ten years later, she made her return to the Speedway with RLLR - and made history by becoming the fastest woman in Indy 500 history in qualifying: Legge set a one-lap (231.627 mph) and four-lap (231.070 mph) qualification speed, and out-qualified all her teammates.


Katherine then announced a return to the race in 2024 thanks to a partnership with beauty brand e.l.f., in the #51 Dayle Coyne machine.

On the first open test day, Legge successfully completed the veteran refresher test and was then 29th fastest. On Tuesday, rain began falling only 20 minutes into practice, ending the running for the remainder of the day. The following day was again disrupted by rain with intermittent running, which limited Legge's preparations. Occasional light rain continued into Thursday; with 56 laps under her belt, Katherine was 24th fastest, before teams started to practice qualifying runs on Friday.


The Qualifications Day 1 in fact turned out to be tricky for both the Dayle Coyne Racing cars; Katherine Legge as well as Nola Siegel struggled to find the pure speed to get into the top-30 and secure a spot on the grid.


Legge's first attempt was a combined 230.244 mph average that initially placed her in a relatively safe zone despite hitting the wall coming off of the final corner: she impressively kept the foot in and crossed the finish line.


Nolan Siegel and Marcus Ericsson - who had both escaped big accidents in the previous practice - struggled, and Marco Andretti, Graham Rahal and Pato O'Ward waved off attempts. Rinus Veekay crashed on his first run. With Andretti and O'Ward eventually making the top-30, Legge was left in the bottom-four: she improved significantly, with a 230.830mph average run, which wasn't enough though to seal the deal.

Two more waved attempts followed, but the British driver would have to fight her way onto the grid in the extremely stressful "bump day" on Sunday, together with 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, Graham Rahal and teammate Nola Siegel.


The one hour session would determine positions from P31 to P33 - with one driver not making the grid. Despite almost brushing the wall on her first lap, Legge kept pushing and escaped a few more close calls to clock a 4-lap average attempt of 230,092 mph, slotting into at the top of the Last Chance session. Graham Rahal and Nolas Siegel couldn't beat Legge at the end of the guaranteed runs - and Marcus Ericsson was slowest after misjudging the end of the run.


The clock ticked down and Ericsson went out again with six minutes to go: he improved to an average of 230,027 mph which bumped Nolan Siegel out, although wasn't fast enough to demote Legge from P31. Siegel's last attempt ended in an unfortunate crash on the second lap - and, while he was uninjured, he failed to qualify for the 108th Indy500.


For the fourth time in her career, Legge will be on the grid of one of the biggest races on the planet.


"I'm really happy for the guys. I know that over the next few days come with a good race car", she said. "We've got some work to do but I think we can do that."

"Relieved and ready to get after it, but it's just so emotional."


Katherine Legge will be the only female driver on the grid: she is one of the only 10 women to have ever entered the race. Janet Guthrie first qualified in 1977: she competed in five editions, while Sarah Fisher has entered the most editions (9). In the last decade, Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann and Katherine Legge raced at the Indy500 - and in a week's time, Katherine will have the chance to improve on her personal best of 22nd, hopefully, making more history in the process.


Photo credits: Penske Entertainment / Matt Fraver


2 comments

2 komentáře


baclrh2o
(20. 5.)

I am so glad to see Katherine spotlighted here. She has been such a powerful force in racing for so many... She really exemplifies what it means to be a "Racer" and not just as a Female Race Car Driver! She is legit and inspires many...female and male!!!!

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RACERS
RACERS
(21. 5.)
Reakce na

Thanks for the comment, and well said, we certainly feel the same!

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